ROAD TRIP! Load your gear, grab some snacks and blast off on an only-in-Iowa adventure. Some of Iowa’s best escapes are only a short drive away.

TAKE A HIKE

In Harrison County, explore western Iowa’s Loess Hills, the likes of which are unmatched anywhere else in the world, except in China. The cornerstone of the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway, these breathtaking natural formations are composed of fine, rich soil deposited by wind over millennia.

HEAD WEST

SET TO STUN

Axe murder house? Check. Marvels made of matchsticks? Check. The future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk? Beam me up, Scotty! In Charles City, Clear Lake, Marshalltown, Sioux City and beyond, visit 23 unexpected Iowa attractions you’ll find only in Iowa.

ADVENTURE ON

EURO-TRIP

From the authentic Danish windmill in Elk Horn, to the German Amana Colonies, to Dutch traditions in Pella, Iowa’s Slovak, Dutch, Danish, German and Norwegian heritage is on full display at Iowa’s thriving historic European communities.

PROST!

FLOWER POWER

Iowa’s dozens of botanical gardens and arboretums showcase many thousands of species of flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants. Whether you want to frolic with 80 kinds of butterfly in Ames’ Reiman Gardens, get lost in 400 acres of the Iowa Arboretum in Madrid, wander a formal English garden in Dubuque, or experience something new at the sensory garden in Waterloo, you’re sure to find your green thumb in Iowa.

BRANCH OUT

BIKE IOWA

Iowa is crisscrossed by 1,800 miles of trails, allowing you to pedal across town or across the state on hundreds of scenic loops and inner-city treks. Join the Taco Ride, stop at a trailside brewery or see the countryside from your saddle on one of these great routes. Looking for a few must-rides? Check out the trails in Fairfield, Council Bluffs and Cedar Falls – and don’t forget your helmet.

CLIP IN

A BIG DEAL

Forget Lombard Street in San Francisco. The crookest street in the world is actually Snake Alley in Burlington. Then there’s the largest man-made grotto in the world in West Bend, the largest collection of Grant Wood paintings in Cedar Rapids, and the longest and highest double-track railroad bridge in operation, in Boone. Check out more of Iowa’s longest, tallest, largest (and smallest) claims to fame, and you’ll see that Iowa has much more than meets the eye.

SUPERSIZE IT

A SAFE BET

Get a big payout when you visit one of Iowa’s numerous casinos or racetracks, like the Wild Rose in Clinton. These are a few of our favorite options for live music, outstanding cuisine and hours of entertainment.

DOUBLE DOWN

STAY AWHILE

Take a vacation and tuck yourself in at these outstanding hotels, suites and bed-and-breakfasts, including the last remaining hotel designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Rich in history, and home to great restaurants, spas and even a bowling alley, this list spans from the Quad Cities to Iowa City, and Mason City and beyond. These are your chance to snooze in rooms favored by former mobsters and presidents alike.

MAKE A RESERVATION

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

Iowa’s ultra-rich soil makes it a favorite place for an unexpected industry — wine. More than 300 vineyards serve 100 commercial wineries, including Jasper Winery in Des Moines and Soldier Creek Winery in Fort Dodge, both located in central Iowa. Here are nine of our favorite places to sample and sip. Won’t you join us?

SIP, SAVOR, REPEAT

RIVER RELAXATION

Taking a trip to the Mighty Mississip? Iowa’s historic towns up and down our eastern border offer great options for a good night’s rest. These restored mansions (seriously – the 22-room Grand Anne in Keokuk could be yours for the weekend) and quaint B and B’s offer unique lodging experiences, award-winning food and magnificent views among the limestone bluffs of the Mississippi river valley.

SLEEP IN

GET YOUR FEET WET

Iowa’s many waterparks are the perfect places to enjoy with friends or family. Replete with water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, swim-up bars and even a giant pirate ship, you can make a splash in these favorite indoor and outdoor adventure spots from Okoboji to Ottumwa.

DIVE IN